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Group Captain Billy Drake DSO DFC* (deceased)
|Joined the R.A.F. in 1936. His first posting was to 1 squadron flying Furies then Hurricanes and first saw action over France in the Spring of 1940 and was awarded his first DFC by the end of the year. As a Squadron Leader he was sent to West Africa to command 128 Squadron. 1942 saw his commanding 112 squadron in North Africa, in July saw an immediate BAR to his DFC and in December an immediate DSO. Posted to Malta as Wing Commander he won a US DFC in 1943. Back in the UK he now was flying Typhoons in the lead up to D-Day. With Pete Brothers he was sent to the States to attend the US Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. After the war he continued in the R.A.F. serving in Japan, Malaya, Singapore, Switzerland and his final posting as Group Captain RAF Chivenor, Devon. Retired in July 1963. Going to Portugal where he ran a Bar and Restaurant and dealing in Real Estate. In his flying career he accounted for more than 24 enemy aircraft. Sadly, Billy Drake passed away on 28th August 2011.|
Group Captain Tom Dalton Morgan DSO, DFC*, OBE (deceased)
|Tom Dalton-Morgan was born on March 23rd 1917 at Cardiff and educated at Taunton School. He was a descendant of the buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan and the Cromwellian General Sir Thomas Morgan, Thomas Frederick Dalton-Morgan. Tom Dalton-Morgan joined the RAF in 1935, serving with 22 Squadron. Flying the Wildebeeste torpedo bomber, he joined the training staff at the Air Ministry. In April 1940 he applied to return to flying, and was appointed to No.43 Squadron. In June 1940 he was posted to Tangmere as B Flight commander with 43 Squadron, flying Hurricanes, scoring his first victory on 12 July. In action over the Channel he shared in the destruction of a Heinkel bomber, but he was forced to bale out with slight wounds the following day when he destroyed another and then was hit by crossfire. With no badges of rank in evidence - he was wearing pyjamas under his flying suit - he was captured by a bobby who placed him in the cells along with the German bomber crew he had just shot down. Dalton-Morgan resumed flying and was soon back in action, accounting for four more enemy aircraft in the next three weeks. In early September, he shot down three Messerschmitt fighters. After one engagement he was wounded in the face and knee, and had to crash-land. His DFC praised him for displaying great courage when his behaviour in action has been an inspiration to his flight. After the Battle of Britain, Dalton-Morgan's primary task was to train new pilots for service with the squadrons in the south. He was also required to establish a night-fighting capability with the Hurricane, a task he achieved with great success. Few enemy night bombers fell victim to single-seat fighter pilots, but Dalton-Morgan, hunting alone, destroyed no fewer than six. Three of his victims went down in successive nights on May 6-7 1941, when the Luftwaffe embarked on a major offensive against the Clydesdale ports and Glasgow. On June 8th, Dalton-Morgan achieved a remarkable interception when he shot down a Junkers bomber, having made initial contact by spotting its shadow on the moonlit sea. After two more successes at night, he was carrying out a practice interception on July 24th with a fellow pilot when he saw another Junkers. Dalton-Morgan gave chase and intercepted it off May Island. Despite his engine failing and fumes filling the cockpit, he attacked the bomber three times. He had just watched it hit the sea when his engine stopped. Too low to bale out, he made a masterly landing on the water, but lost two front teeth when his face hit the gun sight. He clambered into his dinghy before being rescued by the Navy. In January 1942 he left the squadron to become a Controller. Promoted Wing Commander Operations with 13 Group, he then led the Ibsley Wing, consisting of 4 Spitfire, 2 Whirlwind, and 2 Mustang Squadrons. His final victory in May 1943 brought his score to 17. Briefly attached to the USAAF 4th Fighter Group, with the task of mounting long-range offensive sorties over northern France and providing scouts for the tactical bomber squadrons. After damaging an Me 109 in December, he shot down a Focke Wulf 190 fighter and damaged another during a sweep over Brest. He was awarded the DSO in May 1943, which recorded his victories at the time as 17. He flew more than 70 combat sorties with the group. Promoted group captain early in 1944, he served as operations officer with the 2nd Tactical Air Force. Dalton-Morgan engaged in planning fighter and ground attack operations in support of the campaign in Normandy, then moved to the mainland with his organisation after the invasion. Years after, his CO at the time (later Air Marshal Sir Fred Rosier) commented: It would be impossible to overstate Tom D-M's importance and influence on the conduct of fighter operations for and beyond D-Day. A month before the end of the war in Europe, Dalton-Morgan learned that his only brother, John, who also had the DFC, had been shot down and killed flying a Mosquito. Dalton-Morgan remained in Germany with 2nd Tactical Air Force after the war before attending the RAF Staff College, and becoming a senior instructor at the School of Land/Air Warfare. Later he commanded the Gutersloh Wing, flying Vampire jets, before taking command of RAF Wunsdorf. He was appointed OBE in 1945 and mentioned in dispatches in 1946, the year President Harry Truman awarded him the US Bronze Star. Group Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan, who has died in Australia aged 87, on the 18th September 2004, was one of the RAF's most distinguished Battle of Britain fighter pilots.|
Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC (deceased)
|At the outbreak of war Paddy flew obsolete Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders in combat, but converted to Spitfires and joined 602 Squadron at Tangmere. During the Battle of Britain he flew with some of the great aces - Douglas Bader, Sailor Malan, and Bob Stanford Tuck. In 1941 he was a Flight Commander with 610 Squadron. Continuing to fly Spitfires, now with 122 Squadron based at Hornchurch, he flew fighter sweeps and escort missions. On 17th May 1942 he was shot down over St Omer. He baled out but was captured, spending the next three years as a POW. One of the RAFs best known and best loved characters, though the bane of certain senior officers, Paddy Barthropps RAF service spanned the period from bi-planes to supersonic jets. Joining the RAF in 1938, his first squadron was 613 flying Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders. In 1940 he was released to fly Spitfires with 602 Squadron where he shared in the destruction of two aircraft. He was posted to 610 Squadron, and then to 91 Squadron, shooting down two Bf 109s during summer 1941 and receiving the DFC. In August 1941 he returned to 610 Squadron as a flight commander. He was shot down three times, the third time being taken prisoner ofwar. He had by then brought his total to 9. Scraps in the air were accompanied by scrapes on the ground, and appearances in Magistrates Courts for disorderly conduct. Addicted to fast cars and lively ladies - and the sworn enemy of stuffed shirts everywhere - he was the irrepressible life and soul of any party, and a persistant thorn in the side of overweening authority as the Germans were to discover. The war over, he was posted to the Empire Test Pilots School where he flew over a hundred different types of plane in ten months. Soon, he was out in the Sudan and in serious trouble again - under arrest after taking a hippo to an upper-crust party. As a boy, he had been taught to ride by champion jockey Steve Donaghue and now, posted to Hong Kong, he rode winners on the track at Happy Valley, and seriously thought of turning professional. Then it was back to the U.K. to take up an appointment as a Fighter Station Commander, and to lead the Coronation fly-past over Buckingham Palace. He left the RAF to set up his own luxury car-hire firm. He died on 16th April 2008.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Hurricane||Royal Air Force Fighter, the Hawker Hurricane had a top speed of 320mph, at 18,200 feet and 340mph at 17,500, ceiling of 34,200 and a range of 935 miles. The Hurricane was armed with eight fixed wing mounted .303 browning machine guns in the Mark I and twelve .303 browning's in the MKIIB in the Hurricane MKIIC it had four 20mm cannon. All time classic fighter the Hurricane was designed in 1933-1934, the first prototype flew in June 1936 and a contract for 600 for the Royal Air Force was placed. The first production model flew ion the 12th October 1937 and 111 squadron of the Royal Air Force received the first Hurricanes in January 1938. By the outbreak of World war two the Royal Air Force had 18 operational squadrons of Hurricanes. During the Battle of Britain a total of 1715 Hurricanes took part, (which was more than the rest of the aircraft of the Royal air force put together) and almost 75% of the Victories during the Battle of Britain went to hurricane pilots. The Hawker Hurricane was used in all theatres during World war two, and in many roles. in total 14,533 Hurricanes were built.|
|Artist Details : Robert Taylor|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Robert Taylor|
The name Robert Taylor has been synonymous with aviation art over a quarter of a century. His paintings of aircraft, more than those of any other artist, have helped popularise a genre which at the start of this remarkable artist's career had little recognition in the world of fine art. When he burst upon the scene in the mid-1970s his vibrant, expansive approach to the subject was a revelation. His paintings immediately caught the imagination of enthusiasts and collectors alike . He became an instant success. As a boy, Robert seemed always to have a pencil in his hand. Aware of his natural gift from an early age, he never considered a career beyond art, and with unwavering focus, set out to achieve his goal. Leaving school at fifteen, he has never worked outside the world of art. After two years at the Bath School of Art he landed a job as an apprentice picture framer with an art gallery in Bath, the city where Robert has lived and worked all his life. Already competent with water-colours the young apprentice took every opportunity to study the works of other artists and, after trying his hand at oils, quickly determined he could paint to the same standard as much of the art it was his job to frame. Soon the gallery was selling his paintings, and the owner, recognising Roberts talent, promoted him to the busy picture-restoring department. Here, he repaired and restored all manner of paintings and drawings, the expertise he developed becoming the foundation of his career as a professional artist. Picture restoration is an exacting skill, requiring the ability to emulate the techniques of other painters so as to render the damaged area of the work undetectable. After a decade of diligent application, Robert became one of the most capable picture restorers outside London. Today he attributes his versatility to the years he spent painstakingly working on the paintings of others artists. After fifteen years at the gallery, by chance he was introduced to Pat Barnard, whose military publishing business happened also to be located in the city of Bath. When offered the chance to become a full-time painter, Robert leapt at the opportunity. Within a few months of becoming a professional artist, he saw his first works in print. Roberts early career was devoted to maritime paintings, and he achieved early success with his prints of naval subjects, one of his admirers being Lord Louis Mountbatten. He exhibited successfully at the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London and soon his popularity attracted the attention of the media. Following a major feature on his work in a leading national daily newspaper he was invited to appear in a BBC Television programme. This led to a string of commissions for the Fleet Air Arm Museum who, understandably, wanted aircraft in their maritime paintings. It was the start of Roberts career as an aviation artist. Fascinated since childhood by the big, powerful machines that man has invented, switching from one type of hardware to another has never troubled him. Being an artist of the old school, Robert tackled the subject of painting aircraft with the same gusto as with his large, action-packed maritime pictures - big compositions supported by powerful and dramatic skies, painted on large canvases. It was a formula new to the aviation art genre, at the time not used to such sweeping canvases, but one that came naturally to an artist whose approach appeared to have origins in an earlier classical period. Roberts aviation paintings are instantly recognisable. He somehow manages to convey all the technical detail of aviation in a traditional and painterly style, reminiscent of the Old Masters. With uncanny ability, he is able to recreate scenes from the past with a carefully rehearsed realism that few other artists ever manage to achieve. This is partly due to his prodigious research but also his attention to detail: Not for him shiny new factory-fresh aircraft looking like museum specimens. His trade mark, flying machines that are battle-scarred, worse for wear, with dings down the fuselage, chips and dents along the leading edges of wings, oil stains trailing from engine cowlings, paintwork faded with dust and grime; his planes are real! Roberts aviation works have drawn crowds in the international arena since the early 1980s. He has exhibited throughout the US and Canada, Australia, Japan and in Europe. His one-man exhibition at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC was hailed as the most popular art exhibition ever held there. His paintings hang in many of the worlds great aviation museums, adorn boardrooms, offices and homes, and his limited edition prints are avidly collected all around the world. A family man with strong Christian values, Robert devotes most of what little spare time he has to his home life. Married to Mary for thirty five years, they have five children, all now grown up. Neither fame nor fortune has turned his head. He is the same easy-going, gentle character he was when setting out on his painting career all those years ago, but now with a confidence that comes with the knowledge that he has mastered his profession.
More about Robert Taylor
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